Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Real Story Of Squanto

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I’m going to add three new resources to The Best Sites To Teach and Learn About Thanksgiving.  The caveat is that if you are going to use the most obvious and most accessible one, I believe it’s critical that at least one of the other two is also used.

The most visible engaging and accessible to English Language Learners is a new “talking story” with animation from The Weekly Reader called The Story of Squanto.  It’s engaging and well-done.  Unfortunately, it also doesn’t make any attempt at communicating anything other than the whitewashed version of the story.

I don’t consider myself to necessarily be the most “politically correct” person around, but to leave out even a mention of his life as a slave and the destruction of his people seems pretty insulting to Native Americans and to the student audience of the story.  Jeez, I know Brainpop gets criticized, but even their Thanksgiving movie refers to the damage caused to Native Americans.

But I do think the Weekly Reader movie could be an excellent learning opportunity for students, one that I will be using next week with my students.

It could be a great lesson combining that movie with excerpts from a piece on Squanto by the President of the American Indian College Fund or even a much shorter Squanto Worksheet from EL Civics, along with questions like:  What are the differences between the stories?  Why do you think they are different?  Are there examples in your own life or culture where the “public” story is different from what really happened?

We’ll see what happens…

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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